Today, we’ll be talking about your 2022 internet marketing plan for dental and orthodontic practices (click the link to watch the webinar replay).
Today we’ll be exploring the dental marketing plan and tips that, should you put it in place, can make a radical impact on your practice this year. So let’s jump right in.
Your 2022 Internet Marketing Plan
Since we can’t travel as much as we’d like these days, I thought I’d take you on a bit of a marketing journey. Here’s what we’ll be covering today:
- Why every practice needs a marketing plan
- Ten marketing strategies to employ in 2022
- Five vital elements for successful implementation of your marketing plan
So you may be asking yourself, do I really need a marketing plan? Let’s start by answering the question — why does every practice need a marketing plan?
Benjamin Franklin, the very cool Benjamin Franklin said that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Yet none of us as business owners or practice owners want to fail. That’s not why we got into business for ourselves.
And failure really isn’t an option, but that’s what makes it even more astounding that a recent small business survey found that 50% of small businesses don’t have a marketing plan. So in Mr. Franklin’s words, half of all small businesses’ marketing efforts will fail due to a lack of planning.
And I don’t want that for anyone. And by attending this webinar, you’re taking the first steps towards developing a marketing plan that has the potential to exponentially grow your practice. So let’s not be the 50% that won’t experience great results this year.
Let’s first look at the ten marketing strategies you need to employ in 2022 to grow your practice and crush your competition.
1. Let Research And Data Guide Your Plan
The very best way to ensure that your marketing plan does the right things at the right time, in the right place to the right people, is to leverage the power of data and research.
Even though we’ve worked with many dentists and orthodontists and we understand your business very well, every practice and every competitive landscape that a practice finds itself in has its own differences. That’s why before we develop marketing plans for our clients, we do research.
You need to look at the total online presence of your practice — how you’re performing, how you compare with your competition, and where opportunities for growth lie. We don’t have time today to go deep into what research would look like. But needless to say, it covers how your website is built, how it performs, what your Google rankings are as well as those of your competitors, and how you’re competing in social media, paid advertising, and online reputation, if your business displays a clear difference from your competitors so you stand out to your prospective patients, and much more.
In short, you must start with research and arm yourself with data. This also provides you with a benchmark so you know if you’re improving in the future. Want to learn how we include research in our Dental Marketing Catalyst Package? Click to learn more.
2. You Need To Create A Core Difference
Another way of saying ‘core difference’ is ‘unique selling proposition’. What this means is that you look and sound different from your closest competitors.
A core difference will mean that you won’t be a commodity and that you will differentiate yourself in a way that your prospects won’t be comparing you on price alone.
Having a clear difference lays the groundwork for having a messaging platform that you can leverage throughout every communication, post, blog, and email. So developing a core difference is vital to drive exceptional practice growth and profitability. In essence, you’re changing the conversation, so it’s on your own playing field.
3. Define Your Ideal Patient
I know you think that anyone with teeth that can pay their bill is your ideal patient, but that is simply not true.
A great way of looking at who your ideal patients are is to use a matrix. This simple tool with the least profitable on the left and the most profitable on the right, and the least enjoyable on the bottom left and the most enjoyable on the bottom right, allows you to populate it with actual patients that have been your very best. So in the top right portion, you can put who your very best patients are and then start adding other ones that may not be your best, but may be your worst.
Start at both ends of the spectrum. Think about who these actual people are. You can also create a second matrix just like this and populate it with those people’s attributes. Think about their demographics, their personality traits, their family structures, activities they love doing where they live, the cars they drive, the hobbies they enjoy, their income level, and the services that they’ve purchased from you in the past. You can also populate it with patients you don’t like working with and look at their attributes, and this will help to clearly define who these people are.
For an entirely different perspective, you can have your team members complete similar matrixes so you get their perspective, which usually will differ from your own. This will help you clarify who an ideal patient is for you. The reason this is so important is that when you can truly define who your ideal patient is, it will empower you to target them more precisely and also communicate across all channels in a way that attracts more ideal patients. And wouldn’t you like that?
4. Be Where Your Ideal Patients Are
So we talked about who our ideal patients are and defined them. Now you want to make sure that you are available and engaged where they are. Too often we see dentists trying to be in every social network and they end up blowing their budgets and diluting their efforts. So they aren’t being engaging at all.
Once you know who your ideal patients are, ask them which social networks they use most, what groups they’re into, who they follow, etc. This will help you know which social network or networks you should focus your efforts on and what posts your ideal patients will find engaging.
The goal of social media isn’t to be everywhere all the time. It’s to engage with your current ideal patients so that they engage and share your posts with other people just like them… other ideal patients. And if you accomplish this — boom, you’ve created a powerful social domino effect that enlarges your exposure in the community and gets you in front of your ideal patients more often.
5. Rebuild Your Website Into A Marketing Engine
Almost every practice we encounter needs to rebuild its website. The reason is that more often than not, their current site is not performing as well as they think it is in attracting, engaging, and converting visitors into patients. And that’s what your website is for, when done right.
Your website will be a powerful marketing engine that is the very hub of all your marketing. It will be built right so that it helps prospects through their buying decision.
Your website will differentiate you from your competition. It will make booking appointments easy. It will be a content machine that provides the information people need when they’re looking for it, especially when they’re looking for it on Google. Remember, your website is the only online property you truly own as a business.
You don’t own Facebook, you don’t own your LinkedIn profile, you don’t own your Instagram profile and we’ve seen businesses lose these because they don’t follow the rules. Essentially, your website is the digital representation of your clinic and should be invested in the same way. You constantly keep your brick-and-mortar clinic up to date and inviting for new patients. Having a website that’s built right will ensure that all of the other marketing strategies you invest in will have maximum impact and maximum return on investment.
6. Re-Engage Inactive Patients
I think every dentist knows how important this is, but it’s a surprise how many dentists either don’t re-engage inactive patients, or they do so inconsistently.
This is super low-hanging fruit for you and has the potential to directly impact your bottom line very quickly because the cost and effort involved are so minimal. But the payoff is so huge.
7. Communicate Often With Your Core Communication Mediums
You need to be staying top of mind with your existing patients. You need to be providing them with information and education that’s valuable to them.
The more you do this, the more you can also cross-sell, upsell, and reinforce your value as their dentist to them. And not only does this reduce churn and grow retention, but it also can increase your opportunities to serve your existing patients, which is profitable.
If you’re sharing content that’s valuable, they will also share this with other people. They know if somebody’s looking for a dentist and they just saw an email from you that talked about the value you bring as a dentist, and they share that with their friend, it’s very likely that that referral will turn into a new patient. The most powerful channels that we see dentists using today are email, texting, instant messaging, mail (snail mail) and social media.
8. Define Your Marketing Hourglass
Essentially, this is a new and improved sales funnel that includes post-purchase activities. So at the top of the funnel you’ll see the usual sales funnel, and at the bottom of the hourglass, you’ll see post-purchase activities.
The Marketing Hourglass is all about the buyer’s journey that your patients will go through when choosing a dentist. They have to know you to like you, to trust you, to try you, to buy from you, to repeat coming back to you, and to refer others to you.
And the key to leveraging this powerful framework called the Marketing Hourglass is to define where your practice needs to be to show up at each step of their buying journey, and to know what activities and content you as a dental practice needs to share in order to help move those prospective buyers and existing patients through their buying journey. It takes work, but it will pay off in huge ways for your practice because it will help shape the specific elements you’ll need to create for your marketing plan to work, and effectively move prospects to become patients and patients to become referral heroes.
And that’s what we want in every practice.
9. Proactively Generate Reviews
I think every business owner knows and understands the power of online reviews. The latest statistics I’ve seen show that more than 90% of consumers look at reviews before making a buying decision, and often they look at around (plus or minus) ten reviews before making that decision… including lower reviews, to see how your business responds to people that don’t like you or that left a bad comment.
But did you also know that only 6% — yes, 6% — of consumers will leave reviews unsolicited, so there is a massive gap between the 90% of your prospects looking at and for reviews, and only 6% actually leaving reviews.
So as a practice, you need to be proactively asking happy patients for reviews all the time in multiple ways. The very best and easiest way we found to do this is to employ what’s called a review funnel system that requests reviews from all your patients through text and email on an ongoing basis.
It’s super easy for staff. You can also leverage printed cards and posters with QR codes at your physical payment station in your office to help drive reviews. Do not underestimate the power of reviews! They help with Google rankings, map listings, and provide social proof that helps prospective patients choose you as their dentist. The only thing better than you saying how great you are is a real patient saying how great you are as their dentist.
10. Leverage The Power Of SEO To Attract Pre-Qualified Buyers
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Not only is SEO more powerful than paid ads, it is like a tree in that, when planted properly and nourished, it will often pay off in huge terms with the dentists we work with.
We find that organic search results become their top source for leads, even outpacing their paid advertising. Remember that organic search results will drive qualified buyers — yes, qualified buyers to your website because they’re entering search terms that you want to rank for that show they are ready to buy, or are actively searching for a new dentist.
So you’re leaving money on the table and essentially gift wrapping opportunities to your competitors if you’re not dominating organic search results.
11. Advertise Online And Use Funnels To Attract More Patients
Now, I know I promised ten top strategies, but I had to also throw in a bonus strategy and that’s leveraging the power of paid ads with powerful lead funnels.
Next to organic search, paid ads have the ability to drive qualified leads to your practice in a powerful way. Our favorite channels to advertise on are Google and Bing because they are attracting and engaging prequalified buyers and searchers in the same way as organic results. Next in line are Facebook and Instagram ads. Although these aren’t qualifying buyers in the same way as search ads, they can be a very powerful layer to your paid ads portfolio.
YouTube ads are also gaining ground quickly due to the boom of YouTube watchers and also the rise of smart TVs. As a practice, you can now present ads to people in your area on their TV through YouTube. That’s pretty great because you can quickly blow your ad spend budget with poorly developed advertising campaigns.
We strongly recommend hiring experts like our own team to manage your online ads. The beauty is that because everything is tracked digitally, it will be super clear how your ads are performing, what your return on investment is, and whether you should be putting more or less money towards it.
So those are the top eleven marketing strategies to leverage in 2022.
I also want to share the Five Vital Elements of a Dental Marketing Plan that will help ensure you execute your marketing plan effectively.
1. Create A One-Page Marketing Plan And Keep It Visible
The first element I want to share is the importance of taking your completed marketing plan and converting it into a one-page plan that you can post on your wall and keep visible. Keep it on your phone.
The secret of the one-page marketing plan is that it distills all of your hard work of developing a marketing plan into an easily digestible form that you can refer to often rather than constantly pulling out the larger plan. This helps keep it top of mind and helps keep you accountable for accomplishing it.
2. Live By The Calendar
Tip number two is live by the calendar. Many people think this seems highly simplistic. In fact, I used to think the same thing, but as a marketer that has led marketing teams for years, I can attribute much of my success in delivering amazing results to the consistent accomplishment of marketing activities to our marketing calendars.
A marketing calendar will map out the key activities for you and your team, or your marketing agency, to perform every day, every week, every month, and every year so that you get everything done that you said needed to get done, when you need to do it.
So a marketing calendar is simple, powerful, and it should be your new best friend for achieving your marketing objectives this year.
3. Don’t Limp Along… Hire Help!
The next tip seems self-serving. But as someone who has helped countless businesses improve their marketing, I can assure you that there’s never been a time where we’ve been hired by a dentist or an orthodontist whose internal team is knocking their marketing out of the park. It’s simply not possible. Marketing has become so complex with so much expertise required that it’s virtually impossible for internal teams to be highly successful.
I’d also caution you from taking a multi-vendor approach. This is another scenario that we often get hired to fix. Many dentists think they will save money and get better results if they hire different vendors to build their website, perform their SEO, run their social media, do their email marketing, do their paid ads.
The truth is that you then have a siloed approach that, first of all, won’t deliver the results you want. It will cost more and the vendors won’t work together as seamlessly as you had hoped, which will require you to essentially manage them all and tell them what to do, which is the last thing any practice owner needs when they’re busy running their practice.
So don’t limp along! Hire a great superpower dental marketing agency like Dental Marketing Heroes, and you’ll be blown away by the results. And remember, your practice doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If you take the internal marketing team approach or the multi-vendor approach to your marketing, while your competitors partner up with a holistic integrated marketing agency approach, you will be at a disadvantage. So I encourage you to, at the very least, take a look at great agencies for all of your marketing.
Marketing is not overhead or an expense, it’s actually an investment in your business when done right.
4. Budget For Great ROI
And an investment produces a return on investment. So as you consider the return that you want your marketing investment to create for your practice, remember that, just like stocks, it’s determined by what you invest in and how much you invest.
And the part about how much you invest — that’s your marketing budget. Most highly successful practices spend upwards of 10% of their annual revenue to experience the amazing results they see, and their ROI is in excess of 10 to 20 times their investment. And I think you’ll agree that this sounds like a pretty good return on investment.
5. Measure Everything
The last vital element to ensure your marketing plan rocks your world is to measure everything. Peter Drucker once said that if you don’t measure something, you can’t improve it. So it’s imperative that everything your marketing budget is going towards is measured.
If you hire the right team, you don’t have to worry about the minutiae. They’ll do that and provide you with the executive report you need to keep yourself informed and with your finger on the pulse of your marketing. The key is that every marketing activity is tracked in such a way that you know it’s working and that it’s improving every month and every year.
So that concludes our webinar for today. I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. I hope you found this information helpful in developing your 2022 marketing plan, and combining the power of the top eleven strategies for 2022 with the five vital elements to successfully implement your plan. The Dental Marketing Heroes team exists to help practices like yours get your marketing engine going, and so you can focus on serving all the new patients you’ll get from our efforts.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me to talk about how my team can help you, and I’d like to invite you to join us for our next webinar in the series. It’s called How To Optimize Your Dental Website For Maximum Conversions. To review more webinars in this series click here.